‘From Cookies to People’ Shares How the Identification of High Value Audiences (HVAs) Yields Precision That Cookies Can’t and Is Ultimately More Effective for Advertisers

NEW YORK – April 8, 2020 – From mass market, to household demos, to individual demo, and finally, to big data, the advertising industry has undoubtedly come a long way in how it reaches people. While traditional methods enabled us to reach large audiences based on reported behavior, a new study by MAGNA and IPG Media Lab reveals that new, advanced technologies, using people-based IDs, yield precision that cookies simply can’t. “From Cookies to People: Reaching High Value Audiences” demonstrates how the added precision with High Value Audiences (HVAs) can aid brands in their reach efforts with the hope of no wasted impressions. The study used Kinesso’s database in order to ethically source and identify HVAs. Other strategies were also tested in the study, such as demo, contextual, and demo + contextual.


More specifically, HVAs are defined as specific personas that are identified as having more lifetime value than a consumer reached via traditional methods, like demographics, and are highly customized based on variables such as category status and psychographics. These segments are created from a large data set with audience behavior tracked at the consumer level. Modeling is used to predict conversions from behaviors.


Brands can identify HVAs for a variety of different reasons, from reaching a particularly niche audience to converting consumers currently using a competitor product/service. There’s no one-size-fits-all for HVA strategies.


Key insights from the study include:


  • Identifying HVAs goes beyond simply zeroing in on those who are already going to buy; the tested HVAs were efficiently reaching potential new customers.


  • Ads were more memorable among tested HVAs and were especially effective at fostering a strong brand image. While contextual targeting drove brand resonance as well and is seen as being worth a premium, campaign reach can still be an issue.


  • HVAs were persuaded to purchase the brand, up +8% compared to +4% Demo, +4% Contextual and +6% Demo + Contextual. In addition, HVAs were particularly effective at driving purchase intent among in-market consumers, despite being least likely to have purchased the brand before.


  • The tested HVAs were particularly critical of ads not customized to them. However, when tested HVAs saw creative that they perceived as relevant, the ads were more effective, presenting a clear opportunity to customize creative for HVAs.


“Utilizing HVAs is one of the most precise and effective ways for advertisers to reach the best possible audiences on linear and digital video, and I believe it’s the future of our industry,” said Dani Benowitz, President, U.S., MAGNA. “We’re at a point in time where we’re able to save impressions from being wasted for advertisers, and in turn, are able to deliver content to viewers that they want to see since it is so targeted to their interests, which is a win-win for everyone.”


“We’ve been pleased to see interest around utilizing HVAs rise fourfold over the past three years as brands become more sophisticated in their marketing efforts,” said Michael Heberle, Chief Marketing Scientist, Kinesso. “It’s been a game changer for our clients, who have driven drastic improvements in business performance through better targeting.”


In order to identify HVAs, the study’s methodology involved recruiting YouTube users for participation from a nationally representative panel using Kinesso’s database of privacy-safe, best-in-class providers. Participants selected online video topics based on personal interests and those that were not interested were screened out to ensure a natural audience. Randomization was introduced into the test and control groups (Test= Brand Ad; Control = Public Service Announcement; 50% skippable ads; 50% non-skippable ads). Participants visited YouTube’s testing page where they selected and played the video content based on their interests, and relevant behavior was tracked. The targeting strategies used included HVA targeting, demo targeting, contextual targeting, and demo + contextual targeting.


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MAGNA is the centralized IPG Mediabrands resource that develops intelligence, investment and innovation strategies for agency teams and clients. We utilize our insights, forecasts and strategic relationships to provide clients with a competitive marketplace advantage.


MAGNA harnesses the aggregate power of all IPG media investments to create leverage in the market, negotiate preferred pricing and secure premium inventory to drive maximum value for our clients. The MAGNA Investment and Innovation teams architect go-to-market investment strategies across all channels including linear television, print, digital and programmatic on behalf of IPG clients. The team focuses on the use of emerging media opportunities, as well as data and technology-enabled solutions to drive optimal client performance and business results.


MAGNA Intelligence has set the industry standard for more than 60 years by predicting the future of media value. The MAGNA Intelligence team produces more than 40 annual reports on audience trends, media spend and market demand as well as ad effectiveness.


About IPG Media Lab

Part of the Interpublic network, the IPG Media Lab identifies and researches innovations and trends that will change the media landscape and how brands engage with their audiences. Since 2006, the Lab has worked with our clients and with industry partners who can help them best adapt to disruptive change. Its expertise, resources and consulting services also help to inform the learnings, strategies and business outcomes of all Interpublic agencies. For more information, please visit www.ipglab.com or follow @ipglab.


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Media Contact:

Zinnia Gill

IPG Mediabrands

Director, Global Corporate Communications

(646) 965-4271

[email protected]